Monday, 9 September 2013
Washday blues? Not these days.
Of course since there was no mains drainage every drop of water used in the process of doing the weekly wash had to be carried outside and either flung on the garden (in the case of rinsing water) or poured down the outside toilet. Washing was then dried on the line outside unless of course it was raining when it would have to be dried indoors and since the house consisted of just 2 rooms downstairs and 2 bedrooms above it would entail having it on airers round the range or on lines strung overhead and thus the living space was turned into a damp and difficult place to be and getting any dinner made even more difficult as the range was being used as a dryer! I don't know whether Granny would have used a mangle for her washing but there was no such item when we were living there and so all the washing was wrung out by hand - no spin dryers!
Once dry there was the process of ironing especially as most fabrics back in the early 50s - and even more so at the beginning of the century when Granny would have been doing it -were not easy care or non-iron and this is where my flat iron would have come in. A blanket and an old sheet would be placed on the kitchen table to act as an ironing board and the iron heated on the range - It was necessary to have more than one so that as the one in use was cooling down another was heating up in readiness for a swapover. Of course the irons were then dirty from the fire and also very hot to handle so a pot holder was needed to hold the thing and a spare cloth to wipe off the majority of the soot before the ironing commenced!
No wonder washday was a hard and complicated procedure and I reflected on how lucky I am that I can toss my washing into a machine and leave it to do itself! When it's done if the weather is unsuitable for drying on the line outside I can put it on an airer in the conservatory or one of the other rooms which I am not using at the time and don't have to have it festooned across the kitchen where I am trying to get the lunch. (I have never felt the need for a tumble dryer but I bet Granny would have loved one!) I am sure she would have loved the modern fabrics too especially cosy polar fleece which dries so quickly and needs no ironing.
When it is dry enough for ironing I have an electric iron - no smuts on my iron - and an ironing board, though let's be honest here my ironing board is not state of the art being an old wooden one. Although not adjustable in height is just right for me and I never need to buy a new cover for it as I save old cotton sheets (such as the one in the iron photo) to use when it needs recovering and all that is required is to remove the old sheeting and replace it with the another piece and bang in a few flat headed nails to keep it all in place! I usually do my ironing in the conservatory as shown here except when it is too hot/cold/dark and the board lives in that tall cupboard which we rescued from the kitchen when we had it refitted to suit our needs on moving in here.
I wonder how many of you have one of these? I had this when my daughter was a baby and used it for washing her nappies each day and I now use it for washing handkerchiefs (no tissues used here except when we have a cold!) and at other times to boil up my teacloths and dishcloths. I also give my dusters and floor cloths (pieces of worn out teacloths and towels) a boil occasionally too. (Excuse the state of it but as it lives in the garage and I use it outside the back door I don't bother too much about its appearance!)
I told you I was weird!
I see that 21 September is designated World Gratitude day and I for one will be grateful that I don't have to do my washing as Granny did!
Posted by Marigold Jam at 14:40